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Food and wine

Calabria

Calabria: journey of discovery through Calabrian gastronomy and local products

When you taste typical Calabrian products, you are immediately struck by an inevitable realisation: the authenticity of the ingredients.

04 July 2022

Yes, because every dish of Calabrian gastronomy is an expression of the place and speaks the local language. Whether it is the ancient one of the fisherman, the farmer, the shepherd and the dairyman, doesn’t matter. It is an authentic language, blending tradition and innovation.

Let's find out how, through an original food and wine tour of the region and typical Calabrian products

1. The 7 Michelin-star restaurants in Calabria

The first tangible proof of how the past and the future merge in the Calabrian region is the imaginative flair of the head chefs.

In fact, the region boasts the beauty of 7 Michelin-starred chefs, who have inherited the recipes of the local cuisine and revolutionised them with their young creative minds.

The last two new rising stars are Luigi Lepore, with his eponymous restaurant in Lamezia Terme, and Antonio Biafora with Hyle in San Giovanni in Fiore (Cosenza).

The Michelin-starred restaurants Abbruzzino in Catanzaro, Dattilo in Strongoli, Pietramare Natural Food in Isola Capo Rizzuto, Gambero Rosso in Marina di Gioiosa Ionica, and Qafiz in Santa Cristina d'Aspromonte also stand out.

The dishes of these phenomenal chefs will delight your palate, thanks to the quality of the ingredients, the mastery of flavour control and cooking techniques, and, of course, the personality of each individual chef. 

2. The 13 PDO and 7 PGI products of Calabria

If you think Calabria is just 'nduja and hot chilli peppers, you are sadly mistaken!

Enriching the already varied panorama of Calabrian flavours is the enormous heritage of biodiversity and the extraordinary basket of agri-food products, protected at EU level: no fewer than 13 Protected Designation of Origin products and 7 Protected Geographical Indications.

Starting with PDO-labelled products, the range extends from cured meats, such as capocollo, pancetta, sausage and soppressata, to EVO Alto Crotonese, Bruto and Lametia oils, then cheeses such as Caciocavallo Silano, Pecorino Crotonese and Pecorino del Monte Poro, continuing with Bergamotto from Reggio Calabria, and ending with Fichi di Cosenza and Liquirizia di Calabria.

No less valuable are the products with the PGI mark, such as the Red Onion of Tropea, the Clementines of Calabria, the Lemon of Rocca Imperiale, the Potato of Sila, the Fennel of Isola di Capo Rizzuto, the Oil of Calabria and the Nougat of Bagnara.

An all-round immersion in taste that will fully satisfy even the most demanding guests.

3. Sweet excellence and a fresh toast

Every self-respecting meal ends with a dessert. In your Calabrian food and wine itinerary, you cannot miss the Pizzo Calabro Truffle.

Two handcrafted hazelnut and chocolate flavoured scoops of ice cream, moulded into the shape of a hemisphere in the palm of the hand and then lightly pressed to create the real magic: the creamy centre. Yes, because the secret of this typical Calabrian pastry product, which is highly imitated, is the small hole, filled with a drizzle of melted dark chocolate, and then closed again in a very quick gesture that only the most skilled are able to perfect.

Finally, toast with a glass of Cirò DOC, one of the oldest wines in the world, which has retained its prestige almost unchanged to this day. But let yourself also be won over by the many variations of Calabrian grape varieties, from Zibibbo to Greco, Magliocco to Gaglioppo, which are appreciated worldwide.